Graduating high school is supposed to be inspiring and exciting, but this year, seniors across the country struggled with how to stay focused and keep their spirts up while dealing with school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditions like prom, senior parties, and commencement were either cancelled or done in some distanced or virtual capacity. Still, they made it through, and UnidosUS knows they will go on to do many amazing things.
The UnidosUS young women’s leadership program Entre Mujeres wants to offer a celebratory online send off by featuring some of the inspiring Latina seniors who just wrapped up their 2019-2020 program.
Entre Mujeres is aimed at empowering Latina high schoolers to recognize their personal worth, grow their self-confidence, and strengthen their leadership skills so that they will be inspired to make changes in their community and beyond. It does so by providing UnidosUS Affiliates and participating educators with access to an age-appropriate, positive femininity curriculum and to experiential learning activities, both of which provide opportunities for professional development and ongoing technical assistance as they implement the program in their schools and organizations.
Here’s what Entre Mujeres leaders had to say about some of their Class of 2020 Latinas:
Student: Margarita (Maggy) Alarcón
College: St. Paul College
Since joining Entre Mujeres at UnidosUS’s Affiliate Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Maggy has grown into a strong and confident leader. She has recognized the power of her voice and seen the impact she can make when she speaks up and shares her thoughts and opinions. Natalie Somerson, Entre Mujeres instructor and Youth Education & Enrichment Programs Coordinator at CLUES, says Maggy is a powerful role model who wants to continue to inspire those around her as she begins her nursing studies at St. Paul College.
“I am here because of my parents and for my parents. I am so grateful to my mom and dad that I will be a future nurse. Por ustedes y para ustedes. Gracias mamá y papá. ¡Futura enfermera!” says Maggy.
Student: Kaitlyn Estrada
College: Monmouth University
Major: Social Work
Kaitlyn is a force to be reckoned with. A natural born leader, she does not shy away from a challenge. She is smart and possesses the ability to captivate a room with her energy. Entre Mujeres instructor Kim Ruiz, who is the executive director and CEO of Puerto Rican Association for Human Development, Inc in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, says that she will miss Kaitlyn’s cheerful disposition and larger than life personality as Kaitlyn moves on to Monmouth University, where she plans to major in social work.
“Thank you to my mom for always believing in me. I’m so excited to meet new people and start a new chapter of my life at Monmouth,” says Kaitlyn.
Student: Aileen Veronica Pineda
College: University of Houston – Downtown
Aileen is an Entre Mujeres student at UnidosUS’s Affiliate Tejano Center for Community Concerns (TCCC) in Houston, Texas. Yulissa Mora, Entre Mujeres and Parent Specialist for TCCC’s Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success Charter, says Aileen is an outgoing individual, who is always spontaneous and willing to help others.
“Entre Mujeres was an interesting program. I felt very comfortable and appreciated by Ms. Mora and the other girls. It was a very peaceful time because it was only girls. We learned important things about the community,” says Aileen, who plans to study nursing. “Entre Mujeres gave me a safe space in which I could talk without being judged. I want to thank all my teachers, family, and friends for always supporting me and never giving up on me.”
Entre Mujeres is made possible thanks to the generous support of UPS.